Abu Dhabi UPC readies street design manual
Abu Dhabi, April 23, 2009
Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), Abu Dhabi’s urban environment unit, will unveil in 2009 its new street design manual standards in accordance with the guiding principles of Plan Abu Dhabi 2030.
The manual will call for safer, more comfortable and aesthetic street environments across the Emirate, while also providing genuine choice of movement by walking, cycling and public and private transport modes.
Abu Dhabi residents and visitors will start witnessing the transformation as early as 2010 when a city centre street will be constructed according to the new design standards.
“Our new urban street design manual aspires to establish Abu Dhabi as a groundbreaking global mobility model underpinned by diversity in movement options, flexibility in destination access, efficiency in time saving and enhancement of livability,” said Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, general manager, Abu Dhabi UPC.
“Abu Dhabi is the region’s first masterplanned urban centre and its existing road infrastructure has served the city and the rest of the Emirate well,” he added.
“But the rapid economic growth we have witnessed in recent years and the projected population boom will gradually render this infrastructure inadequate. Having the foresight to plan for infrastructure ahead of time is the trademark of Vision 2030 and this project embodies strategic and scientific elements based on months of research, planning and best practice exchange principles.”
The new urban street design manual for Abu Dhabi is being developed by UPC in co-ordination with the department of transport, the department of municipal affairs, the traffic police and other relevant agencies and will apply to all streets in the Emirate including those parts scheduled for urbanisation by 2030.
Freeways and rural arterial roads are not intended to be part of the manual.
Highlights of the design direction include enhanced connectivity between streets and water, the creation of a connected multi-modal street hierarchy, provisions for open space framework and community facilities, innovative shading and cooling solutions, expanded managed parking spaces and an overall pedestrian-friendly orientation.
“Our objectives are simple; create a sustainable framework that drives Abu Dhabi’s economic growth, encourages social interaction, preserves our cultural values and reduces environmental impact induced by our modern life styles,” said Al Ahbabi.
“Because all trips begin and end with a walk, walking should be made as comfortable as possible all year round in Abu Dhabi. Ultimately we want to see a shift from streets without activity to lively public places, from auto-filled streets and lack of public space to limited on-street parking and welcoming public open spaces.”
The new streetscape is being designed in tandem with the overall development of Abu Dhabi as stipulated in Plan 2030 and many of its elements are inexorably linked to community regeneration projects and the creation of new residential and commercial projects across the Emirate.
According to Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, streets and buildings should be human-scaled and oriented to the pedestrian. Buildings need to relate to streets and their coexistence should provide for good network connectivity further relieving vehicular congestion.
The creation of complete neighborhoods with inviting open space, transit and retail facilities are also central to the plan which also makes a strong case for well designed neighbourhood-serving parks and open spaces within the block.
“It is about getting the most out of our streets while maintaining mobility,” concluded Al Ahbabi.
“Moving people seamlessly, effortlessly and affordably should be the mainstay of any progressive and forward-thinking nation as it is instrumental to growth, prosperity and well-being. Commuters who enjoy hassle-free mobility are happier, healthier, more productive<